Reward Influence with Influence Points
Short Version: Rate the influence of teammates at the end of each match and reward more or less "Influence Points" based on those ratings.
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Communism doesn't work. Five guys complete a job. One pulls more than his weight. Three pull only their own weight. One is dragged along. All five are rewarded equally. Another job is completed and again an equal reward is distributed. The overachiever begins to wonder why he makes the extra effort. Even the ones pulling their own weight become agitated by the dead beat. Eventually, all five are doing only the minimal amount of effort required to get paid. I guess we should have seen that coming.
Wave the red flag, Riot. You've created a communistic rewards system in the distribution of Influence Points. Among five players of the same team, contribution, attitude, respect, skill, and overall influence can vary greatly. But reward for that influence cannot vary among those players.
Instead of motivating people to be a positive influence in the League of Legends community through rewards, you are attempting to taper negative influence through the Tribunal system. While the effort is appreciated, it is not working. I do not have the means or access to provide a statistical analysis confirming this. However, a simple litmus test can be performed by joining a game and typing the word "reported." The mocking which ensues from 12-year-old nerds should provide sufficient verification.
Interestingly, it is specifically because of the lack of tangible results that the tribunal system is perceived as a failure. And a threat which is perceived as a failure by those subject to it ultimately IS a failure--a hollow threat.
The most insufferable player joins a game. He trolls, feeds, whines, griefs, moans, insults --you name it. His actions are so blatantly unacceptable that all other players report him. Then what? Maybe he gets punished. Maybe he doesn't. Regardless of the outcome, the people who endured him will get nothing out of it. No participation in the tribunal. No assurance that some form of justice was inflicted. No compensation for indignities suffered. Nothing to suggest that it won't happen again, even in the very next game.
It takes a lot of work to be nice to others, to be respectful, to be a team player, and to be a positive influence. Without any promise of gain or loss directly related to that influence, people are wondering, "Why bother?" So they can be fan boys in the forums and sign The Summoner's Code? Pass. To earn a few pats on the back by anonymous strangers on the way out the door? Meh. For the effect it may have on their chances of winning? Sure, maybe, but playing the game it's easy to see that's not enough to motivate positive influence.
The funny thing is a rewards system already exists. It even uses the name "influence points." People are motivated to earn IP. There are new champions all the time, and if you have the IP to buy them, you can save your precious RP for skins or IP boosts. You've done a great job with the ongoing development of these rewards and driving the desire to earn IP.
Unfortunately, the distribution of "influence points" has nothing to do with being a positive influence. One simply needs to exist. "Thanks for existing. Have some IP." It would seem an opportunity is being missed here.
Instead, why not use influence points as a reward for being a positive influence?
Ratings by Teammates
So how do you measure a person's influence? The clear answer is to ask those people who are influenced or affected by that person. At the end of each match, simply provide each player the opportunity to rate the influence of his teammates as negative, neutral, or positive.
The beauty of this is that you do not need to define what constitutes being a "positive" or "negative" influence. Leave it up to the players to decide, individually, what matters and what does not matter to them. Different things matter to different people. Let them judge it in whatever way pleases them.
Have players rate only teammates. There's no reason to rate the other team. There is way too much room for bias. Plus, they're supposed to be jerks to you. That's just part of the fun.
A few specific ideas for implementation:
- Get rid of the Tribunal system and the "report" button. Or keep them around. Whatever.
- Create [-] [+] rating buttons (with hovering tooltips "Negative Influence" and "Positive Influence") next to each player's name in the match summary.
- Give players 60 seconds to rate each other at the end of each match.
- If players do not select ratings or leave the match summary early, default to neutral ratings from that player for any unselected ratings.
- Calculate the results.
- Show players their earnings.
- Show who gave what ratings. That way, players can see how their actions and treatment of others DIRECTLY affect their IP gain. It could make this sytem much more effective.
Once you have received ratings among players, use them to calculate weights by which IP should be rewarded. Do not throw ratings into a pool and calculate an overall rating. Instead, give each player an amount of IP (following the current system of calculation for IP rewards--it will still work just fine) to distribute among the other players. This isolation prevents especially vocal people from weighing in more heavily than those who are more reserved. Each person should only be able to weigh in one person's worth.
Here are a few comparative examples.
Let's say a win for a (long) Classic mode game rewards 100 IP. Instead of giving players the 100 IP, allow them to distribute that amount of IP among the other four members of their team, within the limitations of the rating system. Look at the influence ratings as allotments. Negative = 1. Neutral = 2. Positive = 3. So if I rate all four players neutrally, that's 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8. I break my 100 IP up into 8 allotments. Each allotment is 12.5 points. I give each of them 2 allotments. That means I give each of them 25 points.
If everyone rates everyone else neutrally, we each receive 25 points from each of the other four players, totaling 100 points each. No change from the current system in that scenario.
Now let's say we have a troll, a feeder, or otherwise belligerent teammate. The other four of us each rate him negative and leave the others as a neutral rating. So we each break up our 100 points into 7 allotments (1 + 2 + 2 + 2). Each allotment is 14.3 points. We each give the griefer 14.3 IP. So he gets a total of 57 IP, nearly half the original "flat" rate. Justice! (Note that the lowest rating still gives one allotment, meaning players can't be completely denied.)
Moreover, because he received fewer allotments, there are more leftover for us. In the previous example, if all unspecified votes were neutral, we would each get 28.6 IP from each other and 25 IP from the rotten apple, totaling 111 IP (over the standard 100 IP). And we would deserve it for putting up with him. Empathy!
But the scum player is also likely mad at us for… whatever reason it is that they get mad. So he wants to short change us. But how? See, he MUST distribute his 100 IP in some way. If he rates us all negative, it's 25 IP each. If he rates us all positive, it's also 25 IP each. The only rating he can provide is each of us in relation to each other. This is fitting, because even though he treated others like ****, they need to watch how they treat him, because he holds one person's worth of weight in the ratings. It encourages civility amongst all players, even those who feel they are the ones being wronged.
As an alternate example, let's consider the positive influence player. The shining star. The pro. The player who carries an otherwise failure team to victory, or the person who makes self-sacrificing actions for the greater good of the team. Whatever it is that makes people enjoy their gaming experience (once again, it's all relative, and that's fine). Each player has 100 IP to distribute. The four other players rate him positive and leave all other votes as neutral. This breaks their 100 IP into 9 allotments (3 + 2 + 2 + 2). Each allotment is 11.1. The positive player receives three of these allotments from four other players, bringing his total IP to 133 (instead of the standard 100). Well done!
These shortages and bonuses become more significant with more disparity, e.g., on a team with a very positive player AND a very negative player. Even more reward for the one, and even less for the other. This is fitting, considering it is more difficult to be positive when others are negative, and even less acceptable to be negative when others are positive.
Success in Defeat; Failure in Victory
Next, let's compare the good player of a losing team and the bad player of a winning team. In a 30-minute game, I believe the losing team gets 58 IP and the winning team gets 88 IP. The members of the losing team rate the good player positive and leave all other ratings neutral. The members of the winning team rate the bad player negative and leave all other ratings neutral. Seems like a pretty typical scenario. The results are as follows: The good player of the losing team gets 77 IP (and the other players get 53 IP). The bad player of the winning team gets 50 IP (the other players get 97 IP). Overall it looks pretty good, with influence points being determined more by influence than by luck in matchmaking.
Another wonderful side benefit of a system like this is that it provides a better way of dealing with leavers. Obviously the leaver does not earn any IP. But what about consolation for the players who get stuck undermanned?
With this system, players suffering the misfortune of leavers can be given a sort of consolation prize. If a match would have awarded each player 60 IP (a typical Classic loss), that would have been 300 IP total among five players. But because there were only four instead of five, distribute that total IP among the remaining 4 players, meaning each player has 75 IP to distribute via their ratings (more in line with a Classic win).
Just apply them after the ratings and weights determine a player's base IP reward. Easy peasy.
One concern may be arranged teams. Players may rate their friends positive and everyone else negative, regardless of actual performance, just to maximize their own IP gain.
The solution is really quite simple. Force any member of an arranged party to neutrally rate everyone else. In other words, don't let them vote.
In the case of partially arranged teams, the members of that arranged team will rate everyone else neutrally. However, they will be rated (and their IP can be boosted or decreased) by team members who were not part of their arranged group. I assume most have had the unfortunate experience of playing with two or three arranged teammates who think they can do no wrong and treat everyone else like garbage. This will finally provide them with a motive (besides winning, which apparently isn't enough) to act as full team players instead of partial team players.
In a fully arranged team, this results in neutral ratings across the board. Consequently, the IP reward would be unchanged from the current system. As stated by Itorbeh a few posts down...